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Psych Congress  

Trauma-Informed Care in the Middle East

College of Medicine and Health Sciences- United Arab Emirates University

Introduction: The problem of increased level and severity of stress as a result of regional and international conflicts is not paralleled by an adequate level of knowledge and preparedness from mental health or primary health systems and professionals in the Middle East.

Aim and Methods: In this study we aimed to explore the characteristics of services and resources available to address trauma related mental health issues in Arab communities. The study was comprised of an online survey of psychiatrists and primary care physicians from 17 Arab countries. The survey included questions about demographics of respondent and facility, composition of practitioners, problems, social issues, therapeutic drugs, mental health training, research, monitoring and evaluation.

Results: There were 93 completed responses. Half of the respondents reported primary health care practitioners in their country are not trained to provide basic mental health services to the general population affected by trauma. Few were confident in the identification and treatment of adult traumatized patients and even fewer felt confident in being able to treat teenagers or children. Only 21.7% felt comfortable in identifying or treating victims of domestic violence. Common types of trauma were identified by respondents. As for the composition of clinical teams, substantial numbers of students were reported, but negligible numbers of community volunteers were present in the clinics. School counselors were rare.

Conclusions: Our study highlights the need to develop a culturally informed infrastructure in primary healthcare for the assessment and management of the psychosocial consequences of violence and trauma.

This poster was presented at the 32nd annual Psych Congress, held Oct. 3-6, 2019, in San Diego, California.

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